Welcome to ‘Run Your Own Race,’ a New Sarcoidosis Column
Hello, and welcome to my column, “Run Your Own Race.” I am honored and excited to bring my thoughts to life. Considering this is my first column, I thought it might be best to introduce myself.
I am Calvin Harris, and depending on your age (and musical tastes), you might find my name rather amusing. There is a famous DJ and music producer who took my real name as his pseudonym. No worries, though, I really do like his music.
I am a sarcoidosis patient, or survivor, or warrior, or fighter, depending on the day. I was diagnosed back in 2014, though I noticed the symptoms well before. My version of sarcoidosis involves the lungs, skin, and lymph nodes, with a few other areas still under evaluation.
Like so many other sarcoidosis warriors, I take a lot of medicine, get a lot of scans, and see a lot of doctors. I am currently writing this column while receiving my monthly infusion of what used to be infliximab, until I was switched to another medicine that’s supposedly equally effective. That process alone deserves more discussion, but let’s stay with the introduction for now.
I live in Brooklyn, New York, but home is Maryland. I grew up in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., and until two years ago, had spent my entire life as a Marylander. That said, I came to New York City for an amazing career move and have not regretted uprooting my life. Of course, as a sarcoidosis warrior, any type of move can dramatically affect the quality of your care, but I have an amazing medical support system around me.
While in Maryland, I was accepted into the Johns Hopkins Sarcoidosis Clinic and was treated there for about five years. Hopkins is one of the best hospitals in the world and seems to host one of the few clinics specifically dedicated to my condition. So although I live in Brooklyn, I remain a patient of that clinic. I did have to switch all of my other healthcare providers (a number somewhere in the double digits), but my great doctor at Hopkins plays a key role in my care.
I am a certified public accountant and chief financial officer for the National Urban League, a historic civil rights and economic empowerment organization that has existed for over 110 years. I strongly believe that each of us has something to give to the world, and it is important to help others, with gratitude. Working at a nonprofit, especially this one, allows me the unique honor and pleasure of knowing that my work, by design, helps others.
If you look at my social media, especially on Instagram or Facebook, you will see an odd jumble of exercise, sarcoidosis-related care, social justice, and just plain silliness. And all of those are me. I am a whole person, full of flaws, yet always attempting to do good in the world.
I am an athlete. Funnily enough, this is the first time I have ever typed or uttered those words. I have been an active person for most of my life, yet I oddly became far more active and consistent after being diagnosed. My Hopkins doctors had emphasized the importance of movement, and I took it to heart.
I run my own race. I have run three half-marathons, the first races of my life, after turning 50 and receiving a sarcoidosis diagnosis. I am quite slow, compared with where I would like to be, but I give myself the grace of acceptance. I don’t like that my lungs sometimes hold me back from going as fast or hard as I would like, but I accept it.
More importantly, I remind myself that even if I participate in a timed race, my only real competition is me.
Simply attempting to run, walk, or move at all when you have sarcoidosis can be a challenge. Heck, sometimes it feels impossible. And I have had this awful condition long enough to know that my version of sarcoidosis is easier to manage than some, and tougher to manage than others, and that is OK. I need to accept that for peace of mind.
For me, every step is a victory. After all, sarcoidosis can change over time — I know that my version has. Yet, I am so grateful that it hasn’t stopped me from moving. I am very grateful that I can run my own race.
So, that’s a snapshot of me. Let’s run this race together.
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.